East Rockaway veterans, residents reflect on D-Day


Veterans, students, residents and local elected officials participated in the annual Pearl Harbor Remembrance ceremony on Dec. 7 at Carrigan Point in East Rockaway. The event commemorated the 76th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, which killed 2,403 Americans and became known as the “date that will live in infamy.”

The event was hosted by the East Rockaway American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Legion also sponsored an essay-writing contest for the students about the importance of remembering and honoring our past, and hosted the students for a luncheon with the veterans. 

Rabbi Andrew Warmflash of the Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre delivered the Invocation, while Rev. Mark Lukens of Bethany Congregational Church and Father Chuck Romano of St. Raymond Parish closed the ceremony with the Benediction.

Town Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen, Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, East Rockaway Mayor Bruno Romano, American Legion Commander John Johnson, VFW Commander Steve Owen, Ladies Auxiliary President Morgan Williams, Sons of American Legion Commander Mike Carver, East Rockaway School District Superintendent Lisa Ruiz and Principal Neil Lederer also participated in the event.

The ceremony was created many years ago by Past Commander of the VFW Tony Donato as a way to honor those who died and served our country. He served as the master of ceremonies for this year’s event. Chris Levins, an 11th grader, played Taps in honor of all that died. Emily McLaughlin read the Federal Proclamation.

Dr. Richard Meagher, an icon in East Rockaway, was the guest of honor and spoke to those in attendance about the importance of that day.

“There was a saying — and even a song — back in the 1940s that reminded us to ‘Remember Pearl Harbor,’” Meagher said. “Here in East Rockaway, thanks to our veterans’ organizations, and their leaders, and their members, we will always ‘Remember Pearl Harbor’ — and, especially, the American lives lost in that sneak attack on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941.”

World War II veteran Mike McCarthy, who was stationed in Pearl Harbor after the attack by the Japanese, also addressed the audience, and shared his story about the events of that day and his journey there.

The event also included a wreath ceremony, symbolizing and honoring all that died on that fateful day, and a moment of silence in their memory.

Don Poland contributed to this story.

Don Poland contributed to this story.